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Lavigne loving home and feeling the pressure
For fans of famed Canadian tenor Ken Lavigne, this is a good news, bad news kind of story.
First the good news. Lavigne is in here Dec. 20 to perform his Home for Christmas concert at Chemainus United Church where he and his band will perform plenty of holiday standards during two 45-minute sets.
“It will be all Christmas songs— classics and secular —interspersed with personal stories,” Lavigne told the News Leader Pictorial while driving from his Chemainus home to Victoria to rehearse for the concert.
“Everyone will have a great time,” said the personable 40-year-old married dad of three youngsters.
Lavigne, who was born and raised in Victoria, but has called the Little Town That Did home for the past nine years, said there is just a little more pressure to put on a great show when it’s happening in his own community.
“Because it’s your hometown, there’s already a lot of love in the room for you and you want to make sure you wow them as spectacularly as you can — something a little extra special, I guess is what I’m driving at,” he said.
“But there is a little bit of pressure because ultimately you are going to be running into (members of the audience) on the streets, in the grocery store, in the bank or in the post office and you don’t want anyone to, sort of, quickly avert their eyes or you don’t want any awkward silences there,” Lavigne laughed.
Lavigne is in no way disingenuous when he says Chemainus is home — he truly loves the little seaside town, famous for its murals spread throughout the community.
“We were living in Victoria after we got married and had our first child, and I was on the road a lot,” recalled Lavigne, one of the original Canadian Tenors.
“It turned out my in-laws had a beautiful piece of property with a cottage in Chemainus and they lived right next door, so we rented out the cottage and we fell in love with the place and have been living there ever since.”
And, he said, things never become, er, uncomfortable.
“I can say — with a straight face — I truly enjoy living next to my in-laws.”
Lavigne said the size of his town has a lot to do with the great feeling he gets from living there.
“Because it is such a small town, you get to know everyone in the community from the shop owners to the ladies in the bank, the people in the post office and, well, I guess it’s the people you’re surrounded by, the people who know you and they’re interested and we always chit-chat and, yeah, it’s kind of idyllic and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
In fact, it was in Chemainus where the man who can bring the house down with a single note started to develop what would become holiday staples in his home.
“We do a couple of things that have become tradition in our little household, because I think it’s important to strike out on your own with your own family and create your own traditions,” he said.
“One of them is we always have to have a (real) tree so after it’s decorated we do something called the Lavigne Family Follies.”
That means everyone from grandparents to toddlers has to do something: a skit, a poem or a song.
“That’s something we’ve been doing for years and it’s become a tradition just gearing up in the days before Christmas,” Lavigne said.
Now the bad news: at the time of this interview last week, Lavigne said the show was sold out.
“I heard there were only two tickets left,” he said Tuesday, later adding that efforts to add a second show didn't work out.